Personhood, pregnancy, and gender: a reply to Hershenov and Hershenov
- 252 Downloads
David Hershenov and Rose Joanna Hershenov, in “If Abortion, Then Infanticide” , hope to show that a number of major arguments in favor of abortion rights will also allow infanticide, and in case the reader does not find infanticide abhorrent, they present a principle they think explains why the reader should. Like so many philosophical discussions of abortion, theirs is not particularly concerned with gender equality or even really with the pregnant woman herself—apart, that is, from her obligation to the fetus. But in thinking about abortion, the issue of gender, not surprisingly, is never far from the surface.
I start, then, with the principle—on its face gender neutral—that the authors believe captures what is wrong with both abortion and infanticide: living beings all have an interest in healthy development. But if this explains why newborn infants’ lives should be protected, it also extends such protection to embryos, zygotes, and fetuses—if one grants that these differ from...
- 2.Mill, J.S. 1974 . Utilitarianism and other writings. New York: New American Library.Google Scholar
- 3.Tooley, Michael. 1972. Abortion and infanticide. Philosophy & Public Affairs 2 (1): 37–65.Google Scholar
- 5.Wollestonecraft, Mary. 1996 . A vindication of the rights of woman. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
- 6.Thomson, Judith. 1971. A defense of abortion. Philosophy & Public Affairs 1 (1): 47–66.Google Scholar
- 7.Solinger, Rickie. 2013. Reproductive politics: What everyone needs to know. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- 8.Pollitt, Katha. 2014. Pro: Reclaiming abortion rights. New York: Picador.Google Scholar
- 9.Okin, Susan Moller. 1989. Justice, gender, and the family. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar